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Has Your Career Gone to the Dogs?

Here are five signs that it is time to retake control of your career:

  1. You are paid below market rate;
  2. Someone else gets the great assignments;
  3. You are repeatedly passed over for promotion;
  4. You are invisible; higher ups don’t know your name, much less what you do, and
  5. You are not invited to participate in decision-making meetings

If this sounds like you, before you decide it is time for a new job, ask yourself if you have checked out, are just going through the motions, or have otherwise indicated to your boss that you have lost your career footing.

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” now is the time to renew your commitment to your current job and company.  You may be able to reverse your career slide without changing companies. If not, the following strategies will increase your confidence and marketability, and provide you with a ready supply of achievements when you do decide to jump into the job market.

To regain control of your career:

  1. Rethink your career strategy. If what you are doing isn’t working doing more of it won’t lead to a different outcome. Sometimes it is as simple as evaluating what’s not working and then doing the polar opposite of it. It almost always involves stepping out of your comfort zone.
  2. Get some skin in the game; keeping your head down and playing it safe doesn’t work. Take a smart risk. Offer to take on a project that will highlight at least one key area of expertise. And yes, doing so will require that you work smarter to achieve success and demonstrate that your manager’s confidence in you is well placed.
  3. Acquaint yourself with what industry thought-leaders are projecting and competitors are doing. Subscribe to and participate in professional associations and online industry groups.   Develop a reputation as someone who is keenly aware of what’s happening in the industry.
  4. Be visible. In her book, “RISE 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life,” former CEO, Patty Azzarello says, “People with high positive visibility have high credibility and  . . . get better projects, more resources, and more support for who they get to hire. . .” So speak up in meetings. Be an idea generator in a sea of mediocrity.  
  5. Seek out a mentor who is doing a great job in the role you aspire to. Ideally it is someone inside the company but that doesn’t have to be the case. An outside mentor may be able to provide insights that someone immersed in company politics is blind to. Regardless of whom you choose, a mentor can help you learn about your next job before you are in it. And, they are often in a position to offer suggestions about whom to consider when opportunities emerge.

If you wholeheartedly implement these strategies and your career doesn’t begin to turn around within six months then by all means it is time to start looking for an organization that rewards your contributions.